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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1821 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

In other words, there was an administrative hiccup there, something that should have gone through under the Commonwealth. I cannot quite recall the exact year. Everyone had assumed that it had occurred, until such time as it was found not to have occurred, I think, by the solicitors acting for one of the tenants. I believe that it could have been the Welfare Rights and Legal Centre who picked up that particular point. Accordingly, it was impossible for anyone to be evicted under that particular Act. My colleague Mr Humphries looked at that. After we both looked at that, he issued that particular gazettal to ensure that the Government had the ability to proceed with evictions.

MS McRAE: Mr Stefaniak, the decision to exclude Housing Trust tenants was made because the 1949 Act was, in fact, much more compassionate. You have asked them now to rely on a much harsher, old New South Wales Act. That decision was made either under your specific instructions or with your knowledge. Why did you not direct the commissioner to use the 1949 Act rather than this old Dickensian law from another State? Are you saying that, because there are compassionate provisions in the 1949 Act, they have to go back to 1899?

MR SPEAKER: Order! The supplementary question has been asked.

MR STEFANIAK: It is quite clear that the ACT Housing Trust, that is, the plaintiff in these matters, can use the 1899 Act or now, as a result of what my colleague did, the 1949 Act. The fact is, Ms McRae, that we could not use the 1949 Act because it had not been properly gazetted; hence my colleague's action in March this year by way of gazettal to enable us to utilise that Act. As a result, I understand that a whole new process was available. There was a considerable backlog because of that technical hitch which was discovered in one of the cases. The solicitors for the defendant actually picked up the fact that the Commonwealth had not made that gazettal. That is the reason.

Methane Gas

MS TUCKER: My question is directed to the Minister for Urban Services. My question is: What actions are being taken to address the problem of methane gas being emitted by Canberra's landfills as the organic waste in them decomposes? I am sure that you are aware that methane is a major greenhouse gas. I understand that your department has been negotiating with a company called EDL to commercially establish a system for tapping this gas and using it in gas-fired electricity generators at the landfill sites, the electricity from which can then be fed into the electricity grid. I understand, however, that the project is being held up because ACTEW is refusing to accept a reasonable price for this electricity that would allow EDL to cover its costs. Could you explain why ACTEW is acting so negatively towards this proposal, which represents a major initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from waste in the ACT?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Ms Tucker for her question. It is true, as Ms Tucker said, that the Department of Urban Services is looking at the generation of electricity through methane gas that is available at the tips. No, I am not aware of ACTEW's involvement in and their concern about pricing. However, I will find that out, Ms Tucker, and come back to you with an answer.

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